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Robot animals can now jump over obstacles

You will no longer be able to hide from cheetah robots behind a 40 cm tall wall, as the damn things can now jump over such obstacles.

Researchers at the MIT university's Biometrics Robotics Lab have upgraded Cheetah (the four-legged robot animal) with new algorithms that allow it to detect and jump over obstacles up to 40 centimetres tall — the first four-legged robot to do so autonomously.

To get a running jump, the robot plans out its path, much like a human runner, it says in the MIT press release.

As it detects an approaching obstacle, it estimates that object’s height and distance. The robot gauges the best position from which to jump, and adjusts its stride to land just short of the obstacle, before exerting enough force to push up and over. Based on the obstacle’s height, the robot then applies a certain amount of force to land safely, before resuming its initial pace.

"A running jump is a truly dynamic behavior," said Sangbae Kim, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, in the press release. "You have to manage balance and energy, and be able to handle impact after landing. Our robot is specifically designed for those highly dynamic behaviours."

As you will see in the video posted below, the Cheetah was tested for obstacles from 24 to 40 cm in heights, and it jumped over them with ease.

The robot was also tested untethered, and passed the tests with flying colours, all while maintaining average running speed of five miles per hour.